I admit that over the last 3 years I’ve gotten used to my more streamlined, leaner, “ropy”, more vascular physique. I’ve gotten used to my better condition and more practical, real world strength. What I haven’t gotten used to is the loss of the raw power I once possessed. I know to many this may seem a silly thing to miss but it was a huge part of my life for over 25 years. It was a sacrifice that was necessary at the time but one I’m starting to rethink
As a skinny, physically weak kid, when I first discovered weight training it was just something I took to and excelled with. Within a few years I got stronger and stronger. I continued to get stronger right up through my mid-30’s. And I was strong. How strong? Well at 36 I could benchpress sets of 315, 365 and 405 lbs and a one time max of 485 lbs. This was all without special shirts, braces, trusses or use of PED’s. Yea, I was that strong. And as I didn’t have the kind of physique that screamed strong I used to draw disbelieving looks at the gym. It was empowering. It stoked my ego and raised my self-esteem. But there was a downside...
The first problem was a lifetime of powerlifting took its toll on my joints having surgeries to repair both shoulders and one knee. Worse yet is there was always a link to my power and my weight. This is pretty much true in all cases. When I was at peak strength I was around 260 lbs at 5’9” which is way, way too heavy. As I crept into my 40’s my body was hurting and my workouts slowing down but I was still stronger then nearly anyone else I know. Then the shit hit the fan
Most of you know the story by now but in a nutshell after the physical from hell I made the decision to get healthier to help control diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. In the course of losing 50 lbs one of the sacrifices I made was to give up powerlifting in favor of more cardio and bodyweight exercises. This was both because I was physically beat up and because of my propensity for gaining weight with strength. I was and am happy with the gains (and losses) I’ve made and that should have been enough…but it’s not
I’ve been fairly heathy outside some minor elbow tendonitis and have maintained 185 lbs for almost 3 years now so I decided for my 50th year on earth I will slowly start amping up my strength again…but with a couple of caveats. 1) that I maintain a weight of no more then 195 lbs and 2) if the toll it takes on my joints prevents me from getting in my cardio I stop. I don’t have an immediate goal but the benchmark will be in benchpress which was always my defining lift. 3 years ago I could still bench 315 lbs several times at 245 lbs bodyweight. I’m nowhere close to that currently so I think that’ll be my mark. Or not
I don’t expect 99% of you to understand why this is important to me. It simply is. I should be more proud that I can do 15 pull-ups and 50 plus pushups and free squats, but I’m not. I always knew that the day I was no longer the strongest guy at the gym was coming and I was ready for that. But I know there is a compromise out there somewhere. I just hope I’m mature enough at this point to know where the tipping point is and don’t go past it.
Anyway I’m not sure this is the kind of thing I’ll be updating but more something I really just wanted to talk about “out loud”. Thanks for listening